How well are you treating your customers over the telephone?

angry phone call How well are you treating your customers over the telephone?

Is your sales team or receptionist
killing your business?

How well are you treating your customers over the telephone? Telephone Mystery Shopping is a cost-effective way to improve customer service, increase sales, and retain valuable customers. As one of the largest telephone mystery shopping companies in South Africa, we are pleased to serve companies, large and small, throughout South Africa.


Our account executives work closely with you to develop a comprehensive, custom set of reports to accurately reflect how well your employees greet callers, present your company's products or services, attempt to close a sale or make an appointment, and interact with potential customers.


Our trained telephone mystery shoppers, matched to your average customer profile, call your locations one to five times each month. Our highly trained evaluators then listen to the calls and carefully evaluate each one. We pay special attention to attitude, skill at building a rapport with the caller, knowledge of product and program, and ability to close the sale or set appointments. Building customer satisfaction starts by creating a friendly, we-can-fill-your-needs and we-want-your-business attitude.


Your custom reports are generated and made available to you after the calls have been completed and evaluated.angrycustomeryellinginphone How well are you treating your customers over the telephone?

We encourage our clients to use these reports as a positive training tool. Use the company-, region-, and district-wide summaries and trends to pinpoint overall training needs. Use the employee evaluations to see what is being done well and what may need to be improved in each location.

We will set you on the path toward increasing sales and retaining customers through excellent customer service.

Contact us today to discuss your requirements.

Telephone Etiquette When Dealing With Customers

Improving Your Inflection on the Phone

Telephone Etiquette When Dealing With Customers.

When you deal with customers over the phone, you have a whole new set of etiquette rules. The minute you pick up the phone, body language disappears, and your tone of voice and the words you use become the entire story.

In fact, almost the entire message you project to a customer over the phone is communicated through your tone of voice. For example:

  • A monotone and flat voice says to the customer, "I'm bored and have absolutely no interest in what you're talking about."receptionist1 Telephone Etiquette When Dealing With Customers
  • Slow speed and low pitch communicate the message, "I'm depressed and want to be left alone."
  • A high-pitched and emphatic voice says, "I'm enthusiastic about this subject."
  • An abrupt speed and loud tone say, "I'm angry and not open to input!"
  • High pitch combined with drawn-out speed conveys, "I don't believe what I'm hearing."

It doesn't take long after a customer hears the tone of your voice to pick up on your attitude. In fact, your customers know within ten seconds of initiating the call whether they're talking to beauty or the beast.

Developing excellent telephone customer service (in both tone and words) is one of the most valuable business skills you can acquire.

If you've ever read a story to a child, you know that the words of the story are far less interesting than the inflection you put into your voice. In fact, if you get lazy and don't make a ruff, grumbling sound when you say, "I'll huff, and I'll puff, and I'll blow your house down!" your child will more than likely stop you and say, "Read it like you mean it."

Inflection is the wave-like movement of highs and lows in the pitch of your voice. The peaks and valleys in your voice let your customers know how interested (or uninterested) you are in what they're saying. Inflection also reflects how interested you are in what you're saying to the customer. When inflection is missing, your voice can sound monotone (read boring and tedious).

Smiling when you talk on the phone

One way to positively affect the inflection in your voice is to smile, especially when you first answer the telephone. The reason is not psychological but rather physiological. When you smile, the soft palate at the back of your mouth raises and makes the sound waves more fluid. For those of you who sing in a choir (or in the shower), you know that the wider you open your mouth and the more teeth you show, the better tone you get. The same applies on the telephone. Smiling helps your voice to sound friendly, warm, and receptive.bad woman receptionist 590x332 Telephone Etiquette When Dealing With Customers

Some telemarketing companies are so convinced of the value of smiling when talking on the phone that they install mirrors above telemarketers' desks to remind them to smile. These same people, by the way, call you when you're just sitting down to dinner.

Changing the stress on the words

Another way to improve your inflection is to be aware of how stressing certain words changes the feeling of what you're saying. The following sentence, "What would you like us to do about it?" changes in feeling, meaning, and tone when you:

  • Say it defensively (emphasizing the words "would you").
  • "What would you like us to do about it?"
  • Say it with curiosity (emphasizing the words "like us").
  • "What would you like us to do about it?"
  • Say it with apathy (not emphasizing any of the words).
  • "What would you like us to do about it?"


Believe it or not, the inflection in your voice can be greatly increased by learning to take long, slow, deep breaths. Most people become shallow breathers when they're under pressure. The next time you're in a stressful situation, try to notice what happens to your breathing. The more upset you become, the shallower and quicker your breathing will be. When this breathing pattern happens, your vocal cords tend to tighten, making your voice go up and sound strained. By being aware of your breathing, especially in stressful situations, you can slow it down and thereby relax your vocal cords, bringing down your pitch and creating a calmer tone of voice.

Exaggerating your tone

Whenever we're asked to help someone who has a monotone speaking voice improve his inflection, we have him start by practicing exaggerating his tone using the following three steps:

1. Take a short and uncomplicated sentence like, "Bill isn't here right now," and say it out loud with your normal level of inflection.

2. Think of inflection on a scale of one to ten, with one being monotone and ten being a disk jockey. Now say the same sentence again, but this time exaggerate your inflection all the way up to a ten.

Sometimes we ask people to visualize themselves as circus barkers under the big top announcing to a noisy crowd of a thousand people, "Bill isn't here right now." Practice this step and stop only when you sound really obnoxious and embarrass yourself and everyone around you.

3. Say the same sentence again, but this time take your inflection down a couple of notches to a level eight. Finally, say the sentence one more time, taking it down to a level five or six.

Level five or six is a good level at which to keep your inflection over the phone. If you find your inflection slipping over time, go back to Step 1 and repeat the process.

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It’s not enough to KNOW your competition, you must BEAT them!

It's not enough to KNOW your competition, you must BEAT them! Never has it been more important to know how to compete against your competition than in today's business environment. With new business becoming more and more scarce, the business you do find—you must win.

your competitors Its not enough to KNOW your competition, you must BEAT them!

One of the biggest mistakes people make in marketing is underestimating the competition. In fact, many clients have actually said to us, "We have no competition." If that were true, it begs the question, is there really a need? You have competition. Everyone does. It may be that your competition is internal rather than external, but competition does exist in some shape or form.

KNOW your competition

You must remember that it is your customers who define your competition, not you. So to truly know your competition, you must:

  1. Ask your customers who they used before you, and who they think of when they think of alternatives to your service or product.

  2. Ask your sales people what companies they sell against and who they lose to when they lose.

Organize the information you get from your "surveys" into competitive categories or the top 3-5 individual competitors, whichever is more relevant to your competitive landscape.

Then begin researching each competitive category or competitor. Use the Internet—after all it's free—but don't forget to ask your colleagues, your customers, your partners, and your sales people for detailed information they might have on your competition. The information you really need to know (price, service quality, etc.) is not always found on the Internet.

For every competitive category or top competitor, summarize the following:

  • Competitive Products/Services.
    List the product or service that competes with yours. Make note of how they position their offering.

  • Pricing.
    Describe their pricing strategy such as price points, discounting practice, average bill rates (if service), average size of sale, etc.

  • Competitive Strengths.
    Describe their strengths—price, quality, location, support, target, etc.

  • Competitive Weaknesses.
    Describe their weaknesses—price, quality, location, support, target, etc.

  • Our Competitive Strategy.
    Describe how you will compete against this specific competitor. Consider this your competitive rant. For example: "Unlike competitor X, we provide XX." If you don't have a compelling rant, look internally and see what needs to be changed. Is your operational model not efficient enough to compete on price, do you not have a history of delivering the level of quality that outshines your competition, etc.

Now…set out to BEAT your competition!

Once you've defined your competition, and how you plan to position yourself against them, you are ready to take them on. But, there is more you must do to actually win.

Everyone in your organization and every action you take in the sales cycle and beyond must take into account your competitive position. Conduct an internal briefing to profile each of your key competitors and make sure that everyone (and we do mean everyone—from the receptionist, to the sales force, to the CEO) has a copy of your competitive analysis.

Also, ask your employees to have their ear to the ground for competitive intelligence. As they run across press releases, customer provided information, or other key data about your current or future competitors, broadcast it to the company. Educating the entire company better prepares them for how to help you beat the competition.

And finally, formalize a quarterly competitive briefing to the management or executive staff. This briefing should include an update of your competitive analysis; with a list of recommendations on how you could improve your company, products/services, or market position in order to better compete. Don't forget the very important step of making the changes, not just talking about them.

Then sit back, do what you do best, and watch the competition eat your dust!

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Is Your Receptionist Killing Sales?

The first phone call is a critical step in the sales funnel and it’s often overlooked because answering the phone appears so simple.  If you’re like most businesses, then you focus on optimizing the marketing before the prospect calls and after the call is transferred to your sales team.  But what about missed calls and mishandled calls by your receptionist?

Do you have systems in place to ensure every phone call is answered and your receptionist follows a proven script?  If not, then you’re likely losing a LOT of money every month without even realizing it.

receptionist Is Your Receptionist Killing Sales?

The True Cost of Missed & Mishandled Calls

Exactly how much money depends on the value of a customer and how much you’re investing in advertising to drive phone calls.  For example, if you’re spending R1,000 per month in advertising to generate 100 phone calls each month, then every call costs R10.  So every time a call is not answered, picture yourself throwing R10 into the toilet and flushing it down.

But that’s just the cost to generate the call… there’s also the opportunity cost in losing a sale and that’s a much larger number for your business.  Let’s assume a new customer typically spends R200 with your business in the first 30 days.  Then maybe this same customer purchases more products and services worth an additional R300 over the course of the first year.  Now we’re up to R500.

But what about referrals?  If you have a solid referral system in place then one new customer may refer on average one more paying customer.  So now we’re up to a total value of R1,000!

By missing just one phone call you’re flushing the R10 in ad spend down the drain and losing out on an opportunity to generate R1,000 in revenue for your business.  A mishandled call can be even more devastating because that creates negative word of mouth that could prevent future sales.

So now I hope you understand the importance of answering and handling every phone call like it’s precious gold.

How to Ensure Every Call Is Handled Properly

The first step to make sure your calls are being handled properly is to create a script.  Everyone who calls your business should receive the same message regardless of whether or not the receptionist is in a good mood or is busy with other tasks.  A script standardizes your phone call system, which allows you to test and optimize how calls are handled.

In addition to the script, I recommend every business records in-bound phone calls for three reasons:

  1. Monitor employees to ensure your script is being followed and calls are being answered.
  2. Train new employees using recordings of calls that went well and calls that were not handled correctly.
  3. Identify problems and ways to improve your phone call systems.

This may seem like a lot of work for something as simple as answering the phone.  However, as we learned in the exercise above, the first phone call can either generate a sale or cost your business thousands to tens of thousands in lost revenue.


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The 7 Ps of Customer Retention Marketing

When we think of marketing, we often think of Marketing's efforts to acquire customers. The world, however, is moving toward relationship-based business, including subscription services and subscription commerce—but also most other business.

customer relationship The 7 Ps of Customer Retention Marketing

Consider consumer packaged goods companies that used to have no direct relationship with customers, who bought in box stores. Many CPG companies are now using online and social mediums to build direct relationships with their customers.

In this world, customer retention is just as important as customer acquisition. So how do the 7 Ps of marketing apply to customer retention marketing?

1. People are the most important. Retaining customers is about building relationships, and relationships are about people. Treat your customer as a person, and not a customer; start by hiring people who show they care about others.

Compare how you behave driving in rush-hour traffic with how you drive down your own street past your neighbors. When you know you will see people again, or if you want to see them again, you treat them better.

The whole company needs to care about customers and customer retention, and one executive must be responsible to ensure that's so—hence the rise of the chief customer officer.

2. Product is a very close second in importance to "People." If your product is off, you will have a difficult time with the rest of the Ps. However, if the product is on target, you will accomplish the rest of the Ps much more easily.

When designing your product or service for maximum customer retention, provide quick time to value, continued value over time, and high quality (those are what Apple does so well). Sometimes there is another P: Packaging. I include packaging as part of the product (or service), and the key to it is polish.

3. Place obviously matters when you are figuring out where to put your physical store, but what about when you're online? Does it matter there? Yes. If I am looking to communicate with my customer and offer them an upsell, I could send them an email or message them right while they are shopping, browsing, or working on my site. The first communication is out of context and has a low chance of response. The second is in context and has a higher likelihood of response. “Place” is context, and context matters.

4. Price. In any good relationship, people take care of each other. That is now the expectation in the customer-business relationship as well. Our customers assume that we will look after them. That is what they pay us to do. In an e-commerce business, that sort of relationship means providing deals for our recurring customers. In a subscription business, that means rolling new features (some, not all) into the service, over time, without charging more.

5. Promotion. How should you promote your product or service to customers to retain them, upsell to them… and keep them for the long haul? Quite differently from how you promote to a prospective customer. Why? Because the person is your customer. You know, or should know, him or her. You know what the customer bought from you or how he or she uses your service. You can use that information to message customers in a more targeted, appropriate, helpful, and effective way. Don't spam them with the same generic info you send to everyone else. Send them targeted emails and in-context messages.

6. Processes. To succeed in all of the previous Ps, and for this success to be more than a one-time fluke, you need good processes, such as monitoring social media and engaging customers there, surveying customers for satisfaction, and implementing marketing automation. My company uses its own customer engagement solution to understand how each customer is engaging with the business. We look for positive or negative patterns and respond accordingly, sometimes by person or email but often right in our application with a targeted message based on behavior.

7. Positioning. If you want to retain your customers, you have to know who you are and communicate that clearly and repeatedly to them so they know who you are as well.

Foremost, however, is this: Your actions must communicate your positioning. Those actions are showcased in the people you hire, the product you ship or service you deliver, the price you charge and the discounts you provide, the place and promotions you choose, and the processes you put in place.

Combined, your words and actions say "This is who we are and what you can expect of us."

* * *

By acting on the 7 Ps of Customer Retention Marketing, you can keep your customers; make their interactions with your business successful; and in so doing make your business more successful.

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Increase productivity, sales and customer satisfaction – through Silent Shopping

Increase productivity, sales and customer satisfaction – through Silent Shopping. Silent shopping, also called secret shopping or mystery shopping is a valuable and inexpensive tool for gathering information about the actual customer service experience at your business so you can develop a successful customer relationship program.

customer service1 Increase productivity, sales and customer satisfaction – through Silent Shopping

Don't waste valuable time and money. With us, you can be assured that your business is attracting customers and not chasing them away! Call us : 086 7222 835.

Silent shopping will increase your sales and profits because…

Customer Satisfaction is Important

  • Happy customers spend more, talk positively about your business to friends and colleagues and make return visits more often.
  • Improved customer service helps you retain current customers by enhancing customer loyalty and attracting new customers.
  • Satisfied customers will tell an average of five people about their positive experiences in your stores. Conversely, dissatisfied customers will tell an average of 10 people about their bad experiences.

There is no doubt that better service and a well-planned customer relationship management program increase market share, and ultimately profits.


Employee Commitment

  • Employees will be more committed, more supportive and more professional.
  • Monitoring employees will provide coaching information as well as identifying training needs and measuring training efforts.
  • Silent shopping reinforces sales skills, such as suggestive selling and closing the sale.

CustomersLeavePie2 Increase productivity, sales and customer satisfaction – through Silent Shopping

Cutting Costs

  • Silent shopping helps you identify and develop crucial training needs.
  • You can reduce the need for administrative overhead with the valuable information provided from our silent shoppers.

Silent Shopping Will Assist You to:

  • retain current customers
  • attract new customers
  • improve customer service
  • monitor employee compliance with procedures
  • enhance employee sales ability
  • reward valuable employees
  • identify training needs
  • measure training efforts

Silent shopping is a valuable and inexpensive tool for gathering information about the actual customer service experience at your business so you can develop a successful customer relationship program.
Call 082 453 1563, to find out how Silentshoppers’ mystery shopping programs can improve your bottom line!

Important Considerations…

Do you really know what is happening behind your back?

Why are your sales down?

Business Opportunity

Are you a goal orientated, self achiever with a passion for shopping?

Contact us today to find out how you can start your own successful business in your area.


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